THERE are remixes and then there are remixes…
When I first started buying 12″ records around 1986, it seemed every single had a dance remix available to buy for a pound or so more. Less so much a remix, more a lengthening procedure – what you got was essentially just the same record but extended at the start for four minutes or so with some pre-house disco beats knocked out by the likes of Shep Pettibone, Jellybean Benitez or Arthur Baker.
Fast forward three years and you couldn’t buy a single from Our Price that didn’t come with an ‘Acid’ mix on the b-side. Since them we’ve had hip-hop, hip-house, dub, trance, techno, progressive house, jungle, ragga, dancehall, big beat, grime and garage remixes of everything from Simply Red to Deacon Blue. Most have been shocking. These days, a quick dubstep mix seems the easy way out for the less imaginative.
A good remix makes a good song better; a great remix turns the whole thing on its head and creates something brand new – something each of these 15 remixes manages to do in their own different ways. Here we go…
15. Eric B & Rakim: Paid in Full (Seven Minutes of Madness Remix)
Possibly the first remix to completely transform a tune rather than just extend it, Coldcut’s radical re-working of Eric B & Rakim’s title track from their 1987 debut album won them plenty of plaudits in the UK. Less so in the US where the duo apparently hated it.
14. Happy Mondays ft. Steve Coogan & Roots Manuva: Hallelujah (Schadenfreude Remix)
Less a remix and more a whole film (’24 Hour Party People’) condensed into five minutes. It’s a bit of a pretentious Manchester love-in with Coogan playing Tony Wilson but the energy of the tune and the rap from Roots Manuva is something else.
13. The Black Kids: I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You (The Twelves Remix)
Pop song plus great chorus with added disco beats courtesy of The Twelves. How could it fail?
12. Manic Street Preachers: So Why So Sad (Avalanches Remix)
‘Since I Left You’ announced The Avalanches arrival on the scene. This remix just confirmed they had enough magical musical dust to share around.
11. Tori Amos: Professional Widow (Armand Van Helden Remix)
The summer this came out, you couldn’t go to a club without hearing it at the end of the night. Packed dancefloor every time and when you consider how average the original sounded, that’s quite an achievement.
10. Rolling Stones: You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Soulwax Mix)
Just to prove that even a classic record can be totally transformed into a floor filler.
9. The Gossip: Heavy Cross (Fred Falke Remix)
‘Standing in the Way of Control’ was great but this is even better. Beth Ditto’s voice is brilliant anyway but the remix provides the tune to do it justice.
8. Florence and the Machine: Rabbit Heart (Leo Zero Remix)
When the piano kicks in, it’s like a throwback to the house era of 1988-89. High praise indeed.
7. Flowered Up: Weatherall’s Weekender (Audrey Is A Little Bit More Partial Mix)
Not content with making the best music video of all time… Andrew Weatherall’s remix sounds nothing – and I mean nothing – like the original. So, in effect, one song from Flowered Up but two very different but equally great versions. The first but not the last time Weatherall will appear in this list.
6. Gill Scot Heron: I’ll Take Care of U (Jamie XX Remix)
What Weatherall was to the remix in the 90s, Jamie XX is to this decade. I’ve plumped for this one for the Top 15 but could easily have also included his reworkings of Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ or Florence and the Machine’s ‘You Got The Love’.
5. The Streets: Weak Become Heroes (Ashley Beadle Love Bug Vocal Mix)
‘Out of respect for Johnnie Walker, Paul Oakenfold, Nicky Holloway, Danny Rampling and all the people who gave us these times…’
Listen to the the lyrics and as anyone who ever experienced first hand the birth of ecstasy and club culture as the ’80s gave way to the early ’90s will tell you, Mike Skinner gets it spot on here.
4. Saint Etienne: Only Love Can Break Your Heart (A Mix of Two Halves)
Andrew Weatherall at the controls again. Great tune made even better. ‘Cool and deadly…’
3. Oasis: Falling Down (A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Mix)
22 minutes of mind-bending madness from Amorphous Androgynous. Dig out the full version to hear it all in one go – it doesn’t sound like Oasis.
2. My Bloody Valentine: Soon (Andrew Weatherall Remix)
Shoegazers conquer the danceloor. Here we go!
1. Primal Scream: Loaded
This was more than a remix. Anyone who can listen to a Rolling Stones pastiche like Weatherall did when he heard ‘I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have’ and come up with ‘Loaded’ has got to be a genius. Without this remix, there wouldn’t be ‘Screamadelica’ and the world would be a poorer place for it.